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More on Mr. Popularity

The latest Gallup poll has Bush's approval rating at 52 percent, slightly above his average 49 percent rating in polls in the last month. That 52 percent rating for a re-elected president on the eve of his inauguration is quite poor by historical standards.

Bush's popularity ratings in specifically areas also indicate Bush is receiving no political boost from his re-election and impending inauguration. His highest rating is in the terrorism area where he receives a 58 percent rating, just a point above his worst rating in this area in this poll.

His next-best rating is in the education area, where he receives a 52 percent rating, his worst ever in this area in this poll, followed by the economy, where he gets a 50 percent approval/48 percent disapproval rating. His other ratings are all below 50 percent and, with the exception of health care, are all the worst Bush has ever received in these areas in the Gallup poll: the environment, 49 percent approval/45 percent disapproval; taxes, 49/47; foreign affairs, 47/49; the situation in Iraq, 42/56; Social Security, 41/52; health care policy, 40/54; immigration, 34/54 and the federal budget deficit, 32/63.

Bush's poor rating on Iraq is underscored by several other findings from the survey. For the first time in this poll, more people (50 percent) think the US made a mistake sending troops to Iraq than don't (48 percent). In addition, about three-fifths (59 percent) think things in Iraq are going badly for the US, the same number feel it is unlikely a democratic form of government will be established in Iraq in the next year and even more (71 percent) believe it is unlikely peace and internal security will be established in Iraq in the next year.

Not much help for Mr. Popularity there. Perhaps he expects his Social Security scheme to overcome his Iraq problems. That seems highly unlikely given how his idea is apparently playing with the downscale constituencies Bush relies upon politically (see yesterday's post) and the fact that his Social Security approval rating (see above) is actually lower than his anemic Iraq rating.

Comments

I believe that Bush's low approval rating at this point is less important than his extremely high disapproval rating for an about-to-be-reinaugurated president. If I remember my history, the last time that a president was inaugurated with actual disapproval percentages this high was in 1916, when Woodrow Wilson began his second term.

What we have to remember is that a significant percentage of those who voted for Bush did so holding their noses because of their reluctance to switch leaders in wartime. Of the 49% who voted for either Kerry or Nader, an extremely high percentage were actually passionately voting against George Bush instead of for the other candidate.